Business

NI firms had 93,000 overdue invoices on their books in April, new report shows

New research on unpaid invoices has raised concern over the number of firms in the north in financial difficulty.

BUSINESSES in Northern Ireland had more than 93,000 overdue invoices on their books in April, new research shows.

A new report from insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, said while the north recorded strong start-up numbers in 2022, there are signs of trouble ahead.

R3’s analysis of the data from business intelligence provider Creditsafe, show almost 3,000 new businesses were set up here in the first four months of the year.

Some 700 new firms were recorded in January, rising to 780 in February and 870 in March. But numbers slipped 27 per cent to 635 start-ups during April.

The research also flagged up issues around late payment of invoices, which R3 identified as a key indicator of business distress.

The body said Northern Ireland firms had more than 93,000 invoices on their books during April that had gone past their payment deadline without the money being received, while 9,119 firms in the north were unable to meet their payments on time.

R3 chair for Northern Ireland, James Neill said: “While it’s great to see that the business community is growing, it’s also concerning to see that late payments are as well.

“Payment behaviour is usually one of the biggest signs of financial distress and not being able to pay the bills on time is often an indicator of more severe cashflow difficulties, so it’s critical business owners and directors have full sight of their financial position and are aware of the signs that suggest their business is struggling.”

The trade body chair, who is also head of business advisory services at the HNH Group, has urged directors of firms finding it difficult to pay their bills, staff or taxes on time, to seek advice from a professional, qualified source.

“Seeking help early gives you more time to take a decision about your next step and means more options will be available to you than if you’d waited until the problem had worsened,” he said.

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